The very skinny woman leading our semi-circle of stagnant bicycles uses a lot of exclamation points when she speaks. She is thin. And tan. And... perky. I hate her.
"And we'll do it one last time!" she exclaims, pretty much to a resounding, "No, we won't (exclamation point!)," from the rest of us. There is a lot of pinky flesh on show by the end of the class- and not an inch of it hers. She doesn't even seem to break a sweat. I hate her. Did I say that already? Fortunately, these hills are only virtual ones so it is entirely possible to sit them out.
I'm not really sure why I am here. I have paid £1.90 at the local leisure centre for this torture. They it call X-Biking (Not Yet Patented), which is basically just an exercise bike with moveable handlebars, ..."for a really great (!) workout!" says the skinny woman at the front. My bum felt pretty sore afterward, so I guess it must be doing something. There is a lot of junk in the trunk to get sore, if you know what I mean.
In fact, the last time my bum was this sore was when I had not long learnt to horseride, and I went on a two-hour Indian beach trek with my boyfriend at the time, where he galloped and cantered all over the shop whilst I rose to the sodding trot for an agonising hundred and twenty minutes. Bounce, bounce, bounce.
Even by the time I had gotten back to our guesthouse there were already bruises showing on my derriere and inner thighs. The Ex-Boyfriend had to rub some magical Tiger Balm into the sore spots for me as muscle relief. Only thing is, he forgot that he still had this menthol delight on his hands when he went to the loo, and he ended up practically burning his Johnston with the stuff. I think he might have even cried. I don't have a boyfriend to rub my sore spots now. I cannot reach myself. I will have to suffer- no pain, no gain I guess. Plus, I don't want to risk burning my own 'Johnston'. I've done that before.
I did threaten to myself before the class that if I went and everybody was in Lycra and thin then I wouldn't be staying. As I made it to the end of the class I suppose you can deduct that aside from Ms. Frickin' Perky there wasn't much thin-ness. But I'm afraid there was Lycra. Oh yes.
It would seem that one family in the whole area has a monopoly on the class, so I sweated and huffed and puffed with leotard-clad crazy Jane- the grandma, I'd hazard a guess, at about fifty years young- her two daughters, and between them there were four more kids of varying ages. One of them was called Chantelle. I think the others were Candice, Chelsie and Courtney. Probably.
Halfway throught the class Chantelle's mobile rang. She answered, mid-virtual-hill and all.
"Mum!" she calls across the room. "Dad says where is the takeaway menu? He wants to have dinner on the table for when we get home!"
I think there is hope for me yet.